India’s Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has laid the foundation stones to inaugurate seven national highway projects in the southern state of Kerala.

Approval has been given for seven projects with a total length of 177km for Rs115.71bn ($1.57bn). The works include building a bridge at Cheruthoni River.

The minister inaugurated a 27km-long Thiruvananthapuram Bypass from Kazhakuttom to Mukkola on NH-66, after the works were completed at a cost of Rs11.21bn ($152m).

The development of the transport infrastructure is being carried out under initiatives such as the Bharatmala Pariyojana, which is the largest infrastructure development programme in the country.

Under the initiative, 35,000km of national highways are under development across the country, 1,234km of which are being developed in the state of Kerala.

In addition, 119km of port connectivity roads will be upgraded under the Bharatmala / Sagarmala scheme.

Gadkari stated that the 1,760km-long Mumbai – Kanyakumari Economic Corridor is also being constructed under the Bharatmala Pariyojana initiative.

This will increase connectivity on the country’s western coast between Mumbai and Kanyakumari.

A total of 23 projects are being developed in Kerala under the Mumbai – Kanyakumari Economic Corridor.

Gadkari announced that national highway projects with a total cost of Rs198bn ($2.7bn) are expected to be completed by 2024.

In August, the Indian Government inaugurated and laid foundation stones for 45 highway projects worth Rs114.2bn ($1.5bn) in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

In July, Gadkari laid the foundation stone for 11 national highway projects in the state of Haryana through a webcast.